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Age gap friendship issues, needed .

Friendship Having issues with a friend? Get it off your chest!

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Old 10th November 2012, 10:19 AM   #1
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Age gap friendship issues, needed .

Hi all.

I know this is going to be a long story but I would rather tell it all from beginning to end so any replays may know all the facts.

I am in a age gap friendship with a young woman, I am 50 and she is 23.

Yes it's easy to judge I know that but our friendship was not and is not based on sexual activity and age friendships and relationships are not as uncommon as people think. They just need more work and support.

I think our friendship is in trouble and as I really value and respect her both as a person and a friend I wonder if anyone could offer any constructive advice. We are BOTH feeling things we have never felt before and I do not think either of us quite knows what they are... It's a bit of mess to be honest.

I am going to be completely honest and open because I know we need help. Some of you may not like what I am about to say so please read it with an open mind and I am hoping for a perspective from others with fresh eyes.

I have known her to speak to for seven years now and over the last few months things have become very close between us.

Until we became closer I have always just seen her as a friend but mindful of our age gap. We both work at the same place so we saw a lot of each other in that work place setting.

She was always happy and when ever I was there she would come and find me when she could and we would just laugh and joke about work related stuff. It was just all very goofy and I really enjoyed her company. We got on like a house on fire and in a purely platonic way we clicked. We always had and I have always been fond of her but not in the same way as now. I feel we connected on a level that's very rare given our ages and rare with people of our own age.

She went overseas on her gap year and during that time I moved from my previous home to a new one that's only about 5 minutes from where she lives. Our friendship had nothing to do with my moving here, it was purely coincidence and at the time I moved we were not that close.

Things changed last year when we started exchanging text messages as friends. She was in her last year at uni and she found the passing of a passing of a close family friend had brought up older deep rooted issues she had on this subject. As she was writing and completing her disatation, plus dealing with various personal health issues she found it hard to cope and turned to me.

She used to text me most of the time, when she got up, when she got to lectures and when she left lectures, and again when she got home and sometimes for hours in the evening, sometimes quite late at night as she could not sleep.

She was very distressed and often said she could not cope or see a way forward. I always supported her and tried to just be here for her. I listened to her and made what replays I could to encourage her. I even help with her uni work by proof reading her disatation and transcribing the results of focus groups, anything I could do to take the pressure of her.

I am a very caring person, quite sensitive and I could genuinely feel her pain so wanted to help.

I have always asked her if her parents are good with our friendship, they knew she was at mine and were perfectly OK with everything which she assured me they were.

I was very happy to province what support I could and she told me she would not have got through it if I was not there and what a great friend she thought I was. She always said that my age did not matter as we clicked as friends and if anyone did not like it then it was their problem not ours. I believed she meant this.

On the day of the funeral of this family friend she asked me to collect her from the train station and she said she didn't want to go home to her parents empty house as they were both at the funeral. She asked if she could come to my home and would I keep her company to which I agreed, why wouldn't I, she was in a terrible state and I could not turn her away.

We spent most of that evening with her crying in my arms and I did what ever I could to comfort her.
I tried to encourage her to go and speak to her parents but She told me that although she loves her parents they are both very "stiff upper lip" and don't discuss feelings and emotions. She said that she also finds it hard to discuss emotions and feelings.

As the evening went by and it was time for her to leave she told me she did not want to go but I encouraged her to do so and she did.

She went back to uni and Eventually after a little encouragement from me, she went to see her uni councillor and this seemed to help.

Then the texts just stopped and I thought no more of it as she was probably into exams and so on.

I didn't hear from her for months and the next I heard was that she had passed her exams, got her degree, moved back home and was working back at the place were we both worked before but she hadn't contacted me once to tell me any of this. I found this a little hurtful seeing how I had been there so much for her but decided to say nothing.

I saw her a few weeks later at work and she was a little cagey around me. She eventually told me that she was having a NSA relationship with a temporary worker and when things started to go wrong she turned to me again. She suspected that this guy had a girlfriend away from work and she was the other person. This bothered her to the point that she was always checking her phone for texts from him and it did not give the impression it was purely a NSA relationship as she obviously had strings. She still Denys this.

Anyway, we resumed our texting and it was always about what ever was troubling her that day and so on. She started coming to my home for a cup of tea and a chat. Sometimes the chats were happy and jolly, about nothing in particular and other times she would would be in tears and just wanted to be hugged.

She would always want to hold my hand, really tightly even when she was asleep and if I tried to move she would say in her sleep "no don't go". She would ask me to stroke her hair as she laid her head in my lap as she said it was soothing and helped her sleep.

Sometimes while she slept you could see she was having bad dreams as her face would distort and her hands sometimes went claw like. I found this disturbing and when I gently asked her about it she said she didn't know she was doing it. Other times in her sleep she would suck her thumb which I found so sweet and endearing.

The jolly talks were often about teasing laughing, getting to know each other. On occasion, and I don't know how because it certainly was not my intention, we would talk about both our attitudes towards sex and relationships, there would be mock or pretend embarrassment on both sides and it was all very light hearted.

She told me she didn't want a relationship and enjoyed no strings attached sex with various people and that she had a *uck buddy back at uni. She made a joke of the fact that when she goes out she keeps a condom in her bag "just in case". One day she told me she had a three some with two guys and was smiling when she said it.

She also told me that she was quite happy to sleep in the same bed as male friends and that this quite often happened.

She told me she is not taking contraceptive pills and relies on the use of a condom.

This did not really shock me as I have an open mind and in the uk a lot of younger people indulge in this type of behaviour. There is also a phenomenon called recreational sex. She told me during our chats that she has a high sex drive and sees no harm in things.

On other occasions i would open my door and she would litterly start crying straight away. Some times she would just fall asleep on the sofa and I would cover her with a quilt and leave her to sleep.

This went on for about two weeks or so with her wanting to be here more and more. I wondered if she was building up to something but I didn't know what so I just carried on supporting her as best I could.

She told me that she was getting on badly with her mother and didn't want to be at home and needed to be somewhere where she felt safe, wanted and cared for, all of which she said I made her feel.

We chatted most days on text and sometimes online. She was always having a bad day at work and I was her support.
Other times these chats were about nothing in general and she would send me pictures of a new dress she had bought asking my opinion and so on.

It was all quite lovely.

Then she stayed overnight at mine after having a drink or two and she slept on my sofa while I slept in my bed. Then maybe a week later she stayed over again and as my house was very cold we shared a bed.

Nothing happened, we just cuddled up and fell asleep.

The next day when we woke up she just said "I feel really horny" and we had sex, a lot of sex.

It was not planned, it was not something I had even considered, it just happened and it was out of the blue.

We discussed it afterwards and we decided it was just NSA and it would not affect our friendship. A few days later we had sex again and a few days after that.

Each time we discussed it and swore to each other that it was purely recreational and just an extension of our friendship.

Then a few days after that, one night at my house, she was quite upset so I gently asked her if sh wanted to chat about anything. She asked me what? So I said I could tell from our previous chats that she had some inner conflict?

She broke down in tears and She told me that she didn't know who she was and where she was going in her life. She said that due to her fathers job they had moved around a lot and she felt she had no roots. She also said that she felt she had no real friends locally except me and felt lost. She said she could not talk any of his over with her family because of the stiff upper lip thing and I was the only one she had ever told any of this too. Not even her childhood best friend.

She said that I got her completely and understood her totally and through her tears she told me that while abroad on her gap year she was badly bullied by some other students and it was this that had been bothering her ever since.

I know how she was acting when she told me this, she was crying and shaking uncontrollably and it broke my heart. I just held and held her and allowed her to cry it all out. When I gently asked her if she felt able to tell me what the bullying was she just said it was so bad she didn't feel able to say so I left it.

I do still wonder if more than bullying happened but don't quite know how to raise the subject again with out upsetting her or bringing memory's she wants to forget.

I do think that this bullying happened because she showed me a email she had from her mum at the time in which her mum said something like, I am sorry to hear that you are so upset and are having a bad time and so on. It did strike me that the email was a little cold and showed no real concern or an attempt to support her daughter but that's just my view.

We spent that night cuddled up in bed and he next day she seemed a different person towards me. She was distant, almost cold.

she actually pushed me alway when I tried to hold her hand and stroke her hair and this did actually hurt a bit.

Then she said she need some time away to come to terms with the fact she had finally told someone what she had told me and to sort out how she felt and how she felt about me now that she had let me in so deeply.

As someone who cares about her I found this very hard to handle but what other choice did I have.

A few days later we met at mine for a long chat and she said that she had been scared that she had let someone in so deep and bared her sole. She admitted that despite the stiff upper lip thing of her family she was actually quite fragile and soft inside.

She said that she thought our relationship was on a whole new level that she had never experienced with anyone before and that with my help and guidance she wanted to come to terms with what she was feeling.

She said that she was happy we had sex but wanted it to stop because.... She thought she might just see me as sex.. And not as a friend.

She also said that she wanted us to get back to having some fun times and laughs so that she did not mentally associate me with just the bad. She said that she openly admits that she does not need to be with me anywhere like the amount she did and also wanted to cut down the amount of texting. Either way you look at it she was backing off.

A day or so later she popped round for a cuppa after work and we got on great. It was all joking and niceness.

A day or so later she stayed the evening and we spent it playing card games and so on. She also stayed the night which was just us cuddling up and being close.

The next morning, out of the blue, we had sex again. I don't even now know how it happened, it just did.
I asked her if it was what she really wanted and she said it was. She said it would not have happened if she didn't want it to so although not sure I accepted what she said.

About a week later was her graduation ceremony at her university and she was going back there for four days. The first day with her parents and the final three she would spend with old uni and house mates.

I was so excited and proud of her for graduating, she had been through so much and worked so hard.

I tried to take a back seat and give her space as it was after all a big day in her life and more a family day then for friends.

On the night before she want back to uni, without my asking, she sent me a link so I could watch her uni graduation ceremony live on line. I was so happy and proud I could watch this but then I made a silly joke in text that I felt like a stalker watching this online. It was only a joke and we often exchanged them.

She replied that at least your not a secret stalker so I replied, I am only watching coz you sent me a link but do you feel I am stalking..
I was aghast at this and more than a little hurt (right or wrong).

Any way it progressed to a full blown argument during which all kinds of crap was said (on both sides) which lead to a phone chat in which she told me that she wanted me to watch and it meant a lot to her. She said that even her childhood best friend was not interested in doing so.

She said that she would do anything to keep our friendship where it was and take it forward. She said she fight as hard as she had to to mend any problems that came up. We even said without thinking that we would be sexually and emotionally committed to each other and be exclusive.

We both thought matters had been sorted out.

The following day she spent the afternoon at mine which was lovely. I gave her a card and a bottle of champagne for her graduation. She took the card but left the champagne saying she wanted to drink it with me the following week.

She then left to drive straight to her uni. (This was on Tuesday)

This is when the real problems started between us.

The following day I spoke to her by text to wish her good luck.

But didn't really hear from her until the late afternoon when we spoke on the phone so I could wish her congratulations and tell her I watched. She said she had to wait until her parents left before she could ring but that she had been doing to tell me about her day and I found this a little worrying. I thought her parents knew about us and Therefore would have no problem with a short five minute call of congratulations.

Anyway, we had our chat and she said she would text me later but didn't until quite late when she said she was tired and wanted to sleep. When I asked her conversationally what she would be doing the next day she became defensive. This worried me and I will admit to becoming a tad suspicious.

i did a bit left out and if we are as close as she says then why wouldn't she want to include me?

Also you have to understand that a lot of her social group is guys, some girls but a lot of guys.

Later on in txt she told me that with some old friends from uni she was going clubbing. I was uncomfortable with this as i know when she goes out she gets well and truly drunk, and i mean very drunk. Given what she had told me about her sexual past i just asked for reassurance that our previous commitment still stood. This lead to yet another text argument which resulted in her calling me late at night from the club.

In the conversation she said she would never cheat and that she felt we were more like partners now than just friends. She said again that she would do anything to sort out any problems we have and I was both reassured and happy. She said that more than anything she wanted my trust but understood it does not happen straight away.

Later that night I had some lovely texts from her as she was dancing to songs specific to us. She also texted me very early in the morning to say she had got back to her hotel from the club safely.

The next day, I called her briefly in the morning to say hi and because I missed her. She was a little distant but I put that down to her hangover.

We exchanged a few texts during the day but she became increasingly distant in them. I would just ask how her day was and what she was up to. Not because I was checking up on her but because I was genuinely interested and wanted to be part of the fun.

Anyway this lead to a heated text exchange, and possibly a phone call but I can't recall now, in which she was extremely defensive and said he felt like I was checking up on her. I tried to assure her that I was only trying to be pat of things, it had not been a problem in the past so why now?

She told me she was staying on the sofa of a male uni friend and I do believe her.

I also asked her last night if it was ok to text her and her reply was "you don't need to ask you silly sausage".

So today I spoke to her briefly in the morning and she was ok but distant, saying she was tired.

As today has gone on she has been even more distant so I asked her if we could have a quick chat on the phone.
She called straight away and I asked if everything was ok between us.

She said it was but then hesitated and said that she found texting me was becoming a bit too much. This was despite only telling me last night that I didn't need to ask to text and that I was a silly sausage. I assured her that I was not checking up on her and texting was my way of just being involved but we can talk further when she gets back.

Her reply was curt, saying look we have talked about this more now so I don't see why we have to talk about again when I get back. I decided to leave it alone and agreed.

A few hours later, Concerned and worried by her increasingly hostile behaviour i asked by text if i may text her a question.

she immediately replied saying yes.

i asked her if she still wanted all the good stuff we have and i said all the cuddly stuff (meaning just that, the closeness and cuddles).
She immediately texted back saying... Cuddly nice stuff. Do you mean sex.?

I was mortified and deeply hurt, our relationship was never about the sex and each time it happened she assured me it was because she wanted it to. She always initiated it by telling me she felt horny and so on.

So i replied to her denying this and asked if she still felt we were on a level above friends as she had told me the other night and she hesitated but eventually texted yes, We are fine but only if you stop all this stuff!

I said do you still want to fight for us and work through what ever has happened this week and she said yes and I thought we had parted on happy terms.

I want to trust her, I can't say how much I want to but she has to meet me halfway and realise that trust is nurtured and not given on demand. Trust takes time to build and if people want trust then they have to act in a trustful way that HELPS their friend and or partner learn to trust them.

She told me it took her months to build up the confidence and trust to tell me about her bullying yet she seems to expect me to trust her straight away?

Anyway I sent her a short text three hours later that simply said "heyyyy how's it's going".

This is he kind of text we BOTH send to each other all the time previous to all this mess but so far as i write this she has not replied.

I am in a mess and don't know what to do.

I have genuine feelings for this woman. I miss her when she is not here and I melt when she smiles.

There is no doubt what so ever that I am now emotionally connected to her. Who wouldn't be after what we have been through and shared.

I have to say though that she does not seem to want to go outside my house anywhere with me. She said pubs and clubs
are out but dog walks over the fields are fine. I am confused.

If she sees me as a genuine deeply close friend as she keeps telling me then why won't she have this friendship outside of my house. Keeping it locked up is making it feel dirty or wrong.

She says many things but then does not back those things up with her behaviour.

She is a free spirit when it suits her. She does not like making plans, even like.. You wanna come over for dinner on Tuesday and its then not sure what I'm doing. She won't commit to anything and when she does she does not keep to it. Hence my fears of her clubbing and being so defensive.

She admits that she can be a little selfish, maybe self centred but I don't not believe this is intentional, it's just the way she is.

To look at her she is a normal everyday young woman, seems to have it together on the outside. From a respectable and seemingly close family but as she told me, they don't discuss feelings or emotions and its very much "pull yourself together and get on with it girl" type mentality.

She is intelligent, witty, funny, extremely likeable and very capable. She does admit to low self esteem issues and I have done my best to boost her self esteem which although it worked before her admission of bullying, now seems to have no effect. In fact she now seems to get annoyed when I try.....

She does seem to want to get any discussions over and done with as soon as possible saying things like, we have discussed now, move on even though I still feel confused and no better enlightened than when the discussion started.

She says she hates any serious chats or topics and wants everything to just be fun fun fun....

She does have health issues, went though a period of fainting all of the time which was eventually diagnosed as low blood pressure for which she now takes medication. She has also just been diagnosed with low iron anemia and is prone to UTI's.

Although she loves me to cuddle and hold her she does not really return it. It's me doing all the comforting. She is not that affectionate although sometimes I will catch her idly stroking my arm for a few seconds. This is not a problem if I know the relationship is tight and there are no other reasons for it as I know some people are just not that affectionate but there are limits. You do need to get something back.

Before she told me about her bullying she would hold onto me so tight and was always affectionate.

She is obsessive about checking her phone for texts and has to reply to them straight away regardless of what she is doing. She has to take the phone to bed with us and the other day, we had just made love and we were still shaking from it and her dad rang.

She took the call with me still beside her and yet again I was mortified. Completely and utterly mortified. I thought it was a bit thoughtless and insensitive to what we had just done but I didn't say a word, maybe I should have. She openly admits she,s a daddies girl but even so, taking a call while still sweaty from sex with the man you think the world of still next to you seems going too far and is certainly not very appropriate.

I think she may have issues with her father in some way because she seems to want to please him but then gets angry and frustrated with him. She has a younger brother and her father does a lot of stuff with him that seems to upset her like going out to the pub and stuff, father and son stuff but she seems jealous.

Her family don't know what she gets up to at when she was at uni and I get the impression that they would hit the roof if they did.

When she goes out with friends or on a staff party with the girls from where we work, she always gets totally drunk to the point she actually does fall over over sometimes and I mean leg less and no way do her family know any of this.

When she told me about her bullying I felt as though she had shown me the true her. How fragile and needing of love/ affection she was and she told me this was true in her own words. She said we had connected like she has done with no one else but we are now in this situation.

Everything recently has been all about her and her feelings and her needs and she does not seem to care about mine. She says she acknowledges them but them does nothing to compromise or help me. I totally get the free spirit thing, she is indie pendant and I love that about her but there are two of us in this, she can't have it all her own way.

For me to be happy with her freedom she has to make some small considerations to my concerns and do a little bit of work to build up the trust. After all, she says she likes NSA and takes condoms out with her. All I asked for was a little reassurance and she became what I think is over defensive.

This situation is making me insecure and making me hold on tighter when I just want to relax and enjoy what we have.

I don't think she even realises what she does and I am one hundred percent certain that there is nothing malicious or planned about her. I just don't think she thinks about things before she says or does them.

I want to be clear that sex is not my driving motivation in all of this. Yes when we have sex it's amazing and we totally get each other in and out of bed but sex is not what makes me want to be with her. Ok if the friendship has progress to something deeper, say a deeper more romantic one then sex would have to part of it as it is normal and essential part of bonding.

But I do not sit around thinking I want sex with her, I miss her for who she is, the person she is not her body.

I worry about her, I worked in the late night entertainment industry for many years as a DJ so clubbing is in my blood and in the uk it's all become about binge drinking and getting laid. There are some very dodgy people about and I won't apologise for caring.

She told me the other day that I now annoy her at times, she gets angry and frustrated with me and she won't talk about it or what I can do to change these things.

I know she hides even our friendship from her friends and goes ridged if she's hugging me and someone walks past my window. She Denys this but I can see her looking at the window as people passand her body physically tenses.

Again she was not like this before she told me about being bullied.

When she told me about her bullying I felt as though she had shown me the true her. How fragile and needing of love/ affection she was and she told me this was true.

Sometimes at work I will catch her looking at me and when I look at her she will smile or do a silly dance or something.
Other times, when we have made love I can see something in her eyes that says, this isn't just NSA sex.

She is driving back up from uni late tonight and then we both have work at the same place tomorrow.

I just have this feeling that something is badly wrong and I need other eyes on things as I maybe over thinking.
I don't understand, if everything is perfectly innocent why is she being so vague and defensive.

We were perfectly happy before she told me about being bullied and we had never had a misunderstanding
Or unhappy word until then.

I feel lost and very very confused not to mention scared, I don't know what's going on or what to think,
Let alone what to do or how to act.

This is making me ill and I haven't eaten for four days now, I just have no appetite.

Everything seems to be so emotional, she is emotional and angry I'm emotional and hurt I don't know what to do or think.

It's not the relationship or sex side of stuff that I don't want to loose, it's the genuine friendship of someone I regard to be a special person. We became so very close and I don't want to loose that. She said we had moved to a whole new level beyond friendship that she has never had before and it's that which I don't want to loose. I wanna explore and move forward on this new level what ever it may be because at the moment I don't know what that means in her head.

To me openness, honesty, respect for each others feelings and caring, great communication and talking problems through are what a relationship is based on, without them what is there?

Is it me, am I doing something wrong but can't see it?

Thanks for reading this.
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